Most people, when asked about the French and Indian War, immediately say that the British won. While not necessarily wrong, this statement is misleading and requires further explanation.
While the British did overcome the French and their allies in armed confrontation, the effects of the conflict had far more adverse effects for England than for the “defeated” French. The reward for “winning” was an exponential increase in British land holdings in the Americas. However, that was the only benefit reaped from the conflict, and even that was short-lived. In the end, Great Britain was left with a large debt, the loss of thirteen important colonies, and land along with them.
Debts incurred due to participation in the French and Indian War had an interest rate equal to half of England’s gross annual revenue. This left Great Britain, as it would any country, in a desperate state. Their solution was to raise revenue from the colonies, thus an end to Salutary Neglect. Instead of the accepting audience they had expected, the colonists sent letters and, eventually, organized a massive boycott against English imports. The pattern of British-imposed taxes/restrictions and colonial unrest continued over a long period of time until the colonists couldn’t take it anymore. The Declaration of Independence, which explained why the colonists were taking such drastic actions, was signed July 4, 1776.
With the signing of the Declaration, the colonies officially broke off from England, taking the land Britain had sought for so long away from them. The losses were enumerable. Everything from the economy to religious views were affected by the move, although none suffered as much as Great Britain.
For a nation that “won” the war, their losses were exceptionally heavy. Without a thorough explanation, such a statement could mislead unwary wonderers.
French and Indian War Effects. Kwintessential. Sept. 24, 2010. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/article/France/French-Indian-War-Effects/776.
Mooy, Age. French and Indian Wars: 3/3 Effects of the War. From Revolution to Reconstruction. Sept. 9, 2010. Sep. 23, 2010. www.let.rug.nl/~usa/E/7yearswar/fiw03.htm